Sir Richard Hotham Project is ‘best option for Bognor’

Sir Richard Hotham artist's impressions
Sir Richard Hotham artist's impressions

An £80million regeneration scheme is the ‘best option’ for Bognor Regis, according to one town councillor.

The Sir Richard Hotham Project sought to replace the Regis Centre with more than 6,000 square metres of commercial space, a 64-bedroom hotel and 192 flats, along with a new boardwalk and plaza at Place St Maur.

An artist's impression of the proposed seafront restaurant in the Sir Richard Hotham project's plans SUS-150219-085809001

An artist's impression of the proposed seafront restaurant in the Sir Richard Hotham project's plans SUS-150219-085809001

A 1,100 seater theatre and 48-bedroom hotel and conference facility was also proposed for the Hothamton car park, while the former Esplanade Theatre site would also be converted into a restaurant, with the existing skate park relocated.

The application was rejected by Arun District Council, but allowed on appeal by a planning inspector.

But since Arun is the landowner and was progressing its own regeneration plans for the sites the Sir Richard Hotham plans have gone no further.

Lib Dem town councillor Wayne Smith put forward a notice of motion on Monday night asking colleagues to consider asking the Sir Richard Hotham project team to come in and give a presentation at a future meeting.

He described how there were a few things ‘lacking’ in Bognor Regis and felt the vision presented by the Sir Richard Hotham Project would regenerate the town.

He added: “It’s the best option for Bognor. It has come a long way since the early days but there’s a lot of misjudged or ill advised people on what they want to do.”

A number of town councillors supported the idea of inviting the project team to come and give a presentation.

But it was also suggested the council should wait before making a decision about a presentation until they understand the new Lib Dem administration at Arun’s direction of travel on regeneration, with a cabinet meeting next week to decide the future of plans for the sunken gardens and Hothamton car park site.

Jim Brooks (Ind, Marine) said he would also like to hear presentations from other organisations that originally submitted regeneration proposals.

Deputy mayor Steve Goodheart (Ind, Hotham) said: “If we are going to get instructions from Arun that the game is back on and there is opportunities for people to come to the front to be seriously engaged in a conversation about what the potential is, the opportunities for Bognor are huge.”

The motion was essentially deferred to await further decisions by Arun.